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What is a good ATV or Utility vehicle for a disabled person? My father has severe arthritis in his knees and in his hips, uses a walker and those battery powered carts to get around. Here in michigan, disabled people can hunt from vehicles with a permit. So what we are looking for is something that meets the following.
1) Brakes and Gas must be hand levers. Foot pedals or controls are out of the question.
2) Must be easy to get in in out of. A 4 wheeler where you have to lift your legs over the seat is not an option.
3) Must be comfortable for a big guy. He is 6'1" and about 300 lbs. Remember, his hips and kness do not work well so what might be good for a normal 6'1" guy with normal mobility, may not work for him. Leg room is a must for long sits in the woods.
4) Need it to be able to go where any other ATV will go. Currently we have an Argo 8x8. That thing will go anywhere. But he cant get in an out of it anymore. Obviously this is 4th on the list, and I don't expect it to be abel to do what the argo can do, but it should be able to go through what any other ATV in its class will. Basically, we want the power, and suspension of the modern "go anywhere" utilty vehicles.
I've look into the Polaris Rangers, and Yamaha Rhino, but they just dont offer enough legroom. They would probably be ok with a bit more leg room and hand operated gas and brake levers. Does anyone know of a good Utility vehicle that would meet the needs? Are there any kits out there to change the foot pedals to hand levers?
I normally would recommend a Rhino under these circumstances, but if the pedals are going to be an issue then I guess that won't work to well. I would say that if you wanted to eliminate the foot pedals, that would have to be a custom job, but it could be done.
Have you looked into the Bombardier's? I believe some of those has a gap between the bars and seat so you wouldn't have to lift your legs over the tank.
I agree. One thing that makes an RTV appealing is that they have a roll cage that allows the person to use his arms and lift himself in and out of the machines. One of the problems is they do not have a lot of leg room in most cases. Therer are a few Spcialty manufacturers out there that are modifying them though.. especially for hunting.... I can't remember their names right off the bat, but you should be able to find them with a google search...
The Bombardier models have a leg well that allows you to not have to swing a leg over the seat ala Honda step-throughs of years gone by.
The down side of the RTV is going to be trail width. Many states consider them to be too wide and thus not considered an ATV. Please check the local laws before you throw your money on the table.
While I can give the Bombardiers merit for the 'go anywhere' label, I'm afraid I can't promote it on reliability. Furthermore, the gap the other guys are speaking of is at the console. It really isn't much of a gap. There is still hardware there, and does require lifting your leg. There is nothing I can do right now that would make me happier but to be sure that you don't buy Bombardier (or John Deere).
I own a Quest 650. I've spent a lot of money on it, and it has sat broken down more than it has been ready to run. Its biggest issues are electrical. The connectors to the computer are constantly filling up with water which will make it stop running, due to the CDI discharge of 80 volts. (this could possibly burn up the computer in the forseeable future. OOPS, I have already bought one!! 500 bux!). I have to clean these connectors on a regular basis, because even though they are supposed to be water proof water (and mud, and i don't even like to go mudding) still gets in them. I had an ignition pickup coil go bad. If that goes bad you are supposed to purchase the whole stator. 500 bux!! I've purchased a new stick coil for it because when you sit on the seat the coil rubs on the bottom of the seat (60 bux). The shock adjusters broke when I tried to adjust the shocks. After 2 years of leisurely riding (befoer I got it), a small seat was pounded into the adjusters, and when I tried using the suppied wrench, it bent. The battery straps are gone, who knows where they went. I use zipties to hold the battery down now.
My most recent problem is the intake manifold. After riding the Indiana Redbird ATV trail I found the manifold torn in half (I'm glad I made it back). This was the result of the 'anti vibration' carbuerator mount breaking.
My biggest problem with Bombardier has been their 'Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word Spam wordSpam word off' attitudes. No customer support at all. Dealerships don't know Bombardier that well. On top of that you have a customer base that talks about how cool the Bombardier is and they don't even ride it hard to find out. Look on the forums, you'll see a few other people talking about their new ones falling apart. Being used by a disabled rider, I'm sure the Bombardier could last a little while. It does have an extremely comfortable seat, though. My suggestion is a kawasaki mule, or polaris ranger, and have the necessary work done for the controls conversion. I don't have much experience with Honda, but I don't know of a non running yamaha or polaris or even artic cat. There are other machines that you can purchase at heavy equipment dealers.
I don't see many options for you. Almost all vehicles require some sort of foot activated control. If you go with anything bigger than an ATV he will probably not like it. It needs to be small and maneuverable.
I can tell you from personal experience about the Kubota RTV. It uses the same drivetrain as their tractors, and the hydrostatic shuttle drive in them works a whole lot different than a typical ATV. They just do not coast when you get off the gas.. they slow down <U>abruptly</U>... which could be an advantage to your father, as the action is just like using the brakes. They are definately TANKS. You won't break one, but you won't be setting any speed records with them either. They have massive ground clearance.. a diesel motor that is well proven, along with the hydrostatic drive transmission with 3 ranges. Can carry 3/4 ton of gear and game.. have a full hard cab available, can be used for other chores around the homestead like plowing snow etc, and can be fitted with tank tracks for awsome traction in mud, snow and in the woods. Plus, I admit I am drawn to that orange color. Top speed is only about 25... so it is not a rocket ship... but given the motor, you won't be replacing it ever...
I think you are going to need to have him sit on a several machines to see if he can find one that fit's his needs. Polaris Ranger 6x6 is an outstanding hunting platform. Essex Mfg makes a lot of hunting accessories for it and many others. With the bed on back, you can haul your dog cages, mount hunting seats on a raised platform etc. although climbing may be out for him.
My worry is that if your father is unable to do certain things, I'd not want him to be out there on his own in case he were to fall and not be able to get back up. A side by side would be much safer as you would have a second person to assist.
For the guy with the Bombardier that has massive problems... That sounds strange.. I don't doubt you are having issues, but from what I have been hearing from others that do have them, the lack of complaints with the brand from them says a lot to me. Although granted, all of my friends have sport models, and not 4x4s... But I was considering one for my wife a while back prior to getting her the Honda rancher AT. I am sorry to say your experience may be a-typical... I know that does not help, but I would still consider them a viable option at this point.
I don't have personal experience with their ATV's other than the test ride I did during the wife's purchase process. I found that the model I rode was exterely manuverable, comfortable, and the steering was extremely light and agile compared to my Rubicon. Almost made me feel like I was on a my warrior.
I do have some direct experience with their snowmobiles, and I found them to be extremely well built and reliable. It is unfortunate that they let one get through that does not live up to their reputation....
It is too bad that the factory isn't willing to help your out either. I can't comment on them as again they were real helpful in my snowmobile racing efforts over 30 years ago.. Sounds like things have really changed since the re-organization a few years back.